Monday, September 23, 2013

"Adopt a Ducky" Duck Race is Done!

On Saturday, we finally had the big day of our "Adopt a Ducky" Rubber Duck Race, at Lititz Springs Park!  It was so much fun!

On Friday though, we weren't too sure how things were going to turn out!  If you see my posts on Facebook, you know that we thought the first box of duckies we ordered was stolen off our front porch.  So, I ordered more duckies.  They were set to arrive just in time either Thursday or Friday.  But Thursday night, when Aaron checked the tracking, something strange seemed to be going on.  They reached our post office, but didn't ever get delivered.  Friday morning, Aaron checked the order information and realized that I had put the wrong street address... on BOTH orders!  So they were never stolen; they were just sent to a non-existent address, and on Friday both boxes were on their way back to the company.  Panic!  I was in tears.  I made a dumb mistake and now we had no duckies!  Thankfully, Shreiber Pediatric in Lancaster had mercy on us.  They do a big ducky race fundraiser every year, and when we called them and explained our situation, they were very happy to let us borrow some of their ducks.  It ended up better in the long run, because we didn't have to pay for duckies (just for the shipping on the ones I tried to order)!
The other thing that made us nervous was the weather.  They had been forecasting rain all day Saturday, starting in the morning.  But Praise God!  When we got up Saturday morning, the forecast had changed, saying the rain would only start after 3pm.  We had GREAT weather, as you can see!

It's such a pretty park too!  Here are some of the "adopted" duckies before the race, and some kids choosing their ducks.

We also had face painting and a peanut/candy scramble:


And finally, the ducky race!  Here they come, slightly freaking out the real ducks!
Who's going to win?

Here they are, crossing the finish line!
Unfortunately, I didn't think of getting pictures of the winners, but they were three sweet kiddos!  Congratulations to these winners!
1st place:  Brooke B.
2nd place:  Yana B.
3rd place:  MacKenzie R.

And a big thank you to these businesses for donating prizes:
Weavers Store, Inc.
Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Wilbur Chocolate!

I have to add here that one of the coolest things about the race (for us) was that we met a man who grew up in the VERY TOWN where Camden's orphanage is!  This is totally amazing, because it is not the capital or even a large city in that country.  It's just a little dot on the map.  And here, in little Lititz, we meet someone from there.  We talked for quite a while, and he said he would be happy to connect us with his friends and family there, and also with a church there (his son-in-law's brother is the pastor)!  It will be so great if we can have a little network of people willing to help us out while we are there!  It was so "random," that this guy just happened to be at the park with his grandson.  So much so that it is obviously NOT random, but totally arranged by the Lord.  Praise the Lord!

I posted on Facebook that we raised a little over $300 for the adoption, but some more donations have come in since then, so it looks more like $550!  Praise God for that, too!  Every bit helps to bring our Camden home!  Thank you so much to everyone who gave, helped out, let us borrow things, or donated food to sell!  You are all a blessing!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Yard Sale

Praise the Lord!  We had our fundraiser yard sale this morning, and we made about $545 to add to our adoption fund!

Thank you to everyone who donated items to sell, and to everyone who shopped and gave generously!

We also have some good news about the home study.  Our social worker finally contacted us last week, and she told us she had been out sick for about a month, which is why we couldn't reach her.  She said she will have the home study done next week sometime.

Now we pray that all the paperwork moves as QUICKLY as possible!  First we'll send the home study to the USCIS to get approval from them.  Please pray we can get the medical expedite.  Our wonderful doctors are going to write a letter, so hopefully we can.  Then we get apostilles for all the documents that still need it, and then we send it all off to Eastern Europe.  Then, we wait.  And wait!  It will be so hard to wait!  And then when they give us a date, we go!  It looks at this point like it will be sometime in December.  We really hope it doesn't go past the new year, because all the holidays would really delay things.

Next Saturday:  Ducky Race!

I need to remember to take pictures next Saturday.  I forgot to take any at the yard sale today.

I'm missing the girls today.  They are camping with Grandma and Poppaw this weekend!  They were so excited, and I just got an email from my mom, saying they are having a great time, despite it being really cold this morning.  Apparently Lydia put on 3 pairs of socks, because her feet were so cold!

Just for fun, and because I'm missing my gals, here are 2 of my favorite pics from this summer, taken in Arkansas:


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bits and Pieces

I've been feeling discouraged this week that our home study is still not written up, and we're not sure what the hold up is.

But God has given us some bits and pieces of encouragement!

Bits and pieces from the past of our little "Camden."  A few days ago I stumbled upon one organization's website (I won't say which one right now, since it would give away Camden's location), and I found some pictures of him from 2010.  There was even a short video clip of some people visiting Camden's group, and it shows a few second of him in action!  Then, just last night, I read an email from someone who found me on Reece's Rainbow.  She had adopted a girl from Camden's group in 2011, and she sent some pictures of him from that time.  We also now know his real name, and which orphanage he is in.  (Can't say yet though, until the adoption is finalized!)  I was so excited I could hardly go to sleep last night.  It is SO special to us to have a few more little pieces of the puzzle; some glimpses of who this sweet boy is.  I think I'm in love!

Here are a few pictures we have.  First, from 2010:

And the new ones we got that are from 2011:

And of course, the most recent one:

I keep reminding myself that we have no legal hold on him until the adoption is finalized, but we pray that God will allow us to bring this boy into our family.

Can you help?  The estimated total cost of the adoption is $23,000.  Please click on the Reece's Rainbow link on the right (with Camden's picture) to make a tax deductible donation to our adoption grant.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adoption Process Update

Just a quick update for anyone wondering where we are at in the adoption process right now.

We have done pretty much all we can do at this point.  We have submitted everything we need for the home study, and we're waiting for it to be written up.  Once we have it, we can send it to the USCIS right away for approval, and then we can send our dossier to Camden's country.  Then we wait some more!  Please pray with us that our home study will be completed soon.  It feels like a "hold up" right now, when we want things to keep moving.  We're trying to trust in God's timing for everything!

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of Home School (and What the Pictures Don't Show You!)

Today was our first day of homeschooling!  I did a little homeschooling with Lydia the past 2 years, so that she would be learning to read and write in English, along with the activities at her Russian preschool, but today felt like REAL homeschooling.  Especially because I'm trying to do some pre-K activities with Birdie.

I posted these pictures earlier on Facebook:


After posting them, I thought, "Wow, these look good.  People will be amazed at what a great Homeschooling Mom I am."  In the pictures, it looks like we're all happy and learning together in perfect harmony.

But then I did a reality check (and a humility check!)  We did have some harmonious learning moments, but...

Here's what the pictures don't show you:
  • They don't show me trying in vain to round everybody up for the start of school, and only finally getting started at 10 am.
  • They don't show Elliot screaming and throwing temper tantrums for Lydia's whole first lesson, because I wouldn't let him grab the book out of her hands.
  • They don't show Lydia rolling her eyes and chanting, "Boring, boring, boring..." when it was time to do her reading lesson.
  • They don't show Birdie whining and defiantly plopping to the floor when I asked her to go wipe the yogurt off her hands before she touches the chairs.  (How unfair of me!)
My consolation is that even those homeschooling bloggers that look like they have it all together, probably don't.  At least not all the time.  Because we're all human, trying to teach little humans.  So I'm sure we'll have these "moments" every day.  My prayer is that even those unharmonious moments can be chances to show each other grace and forgiveness; that they can be lessons learned in the midst of real life.

Overall, I'd say our first day went pretty well.  Especially since it ended with a bowl of Turkey Hill All Natural coffee ice cream for dessert.  Yeah, that's a happy ending!

(Credit to Erica at for the Letter of the Week activities that Birdie is doing!)